Literary Festival ten years old

By Philip Lanthier, special contributor

The Knowlton Literary Festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary on the weekend of October 17–20 with a varied and exciting line-up of Canadian writers.

The festival opens Thursday evening in the lobby of the Theatre Lac Brome with a free poetry reading dedicated to the memory of Sutton poet Susan Briscoe (1966–2018). Hosted by actor Mary Harvey, the evening will feature readings by four Townships poets with John Barr at the piano.

Sheree Fitch from Nova Scotia will meet the children of Knowlton Academy during the day Friday, October 18, and then conduct a two-part writing-stories-for-children workshop for adults on Saturday and Sunday morning. Friday evening will feature a reception followed by Ann-Marie MacDonald, host and narrator of CBC’s Doc Zone for eight seasons, and author of the novels Fall on Your Knees and The Way the Crow Flies. She will read from recent work and engage in conversation with the audience.

Saturday morning will highlight the work of four Townships authors: Heather Croghan Moreland, Fred Langan, Ross Murray and Meghan Redmile. On hand will be The Yamaska Literacy Council, the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network and the Write Here, Write Now Project. Entry is free. The event will be followed by Toronto short story writer Kathleen Miller who will discuss, with images, how the paintings by Alex Colville inspired her short story collection Late Breaking.

Louise Penny and Shelagh Rogers take the stage in the Centre Lac-Brome at 2 p.m. in what promises to be a lively and entertaining exchange.

Saturday evening at the Centre Lac-Brome, three-time winner of the Governor General’s award for fiction, Guy Vandherhaege, will be speaking on history and the historical novel as well as about his recent prize-winning collection Daddy Lenin and Other Stories.

The festival wraps up with two special events, both with a food focus. Barry Estabrook, author of Tomatoland, will deliver a talk entitled “From Harvest of Shame to Harvest of Hope” which tells the real story behind those beautiful red “vegetables” we find in our supermarkets. The festival concludes with a buffet brunch followed by Kim Thúy, author of the novels Ru, Man and Vi, who will talk about the essentials of Vietnamese cooking and the role that food plays in her fiction.

A Festival pass is available for a combination of selected presentations. All events are in English and, except for the poetry evening, will take place at Centre Lac-Brome at 270 Victoria, Knowlton. Tickets went on sale August 15 and can be purchased at Brome Lake Books, 450-242-2242.